Ballin' the Jack is basically just a sensual, gyration dance with bumps and grinds. Notorious in its day, it was done as a solo dance or along with swing dancing. It's first public appearance was in 1913 at the Lafayette Theater in Harlem, the play was called "The Darktown Follies" produced by Leubrie Hill in the first act called "At The Ball, That's All." Florence Ziegfeld loved it so much he purchased the rights and used it in his Follies of 1913.
In 1913 dancer and composer Chris Smith wrote the song titled "Ballin' The Jack," based on a Negro song that was becoming a dance fad across the nation with white America. Most people think of Ballin' the Jack as a swing variant such as the Big Apple and Truckin'. However in the early 1900's, it was a dance all in its own. When it merged with the Lindy Hop, it lost most of its original form and became just a sidekick to swing dance such as pictured on left.
There are stories that 'Ballin' the Jack' was sung by the African-Americans while laying rail for the rail road companies in the 1890's. The "Jack" was a common name for a locomotive (the jackass carrying the load), and Ballin' was the trainmen's hand gestures to 'Highball it' or "High Balling" which means, "faster or to have fun." a side note:
The vintage 'Little Wonder Records' had the title of 'Ballin' The Jack' in 1909. The last patent date listed on the record is 11/30/1909.